Clause 22 - Civil legal services for recipients of priority removal notices

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 26 Hydref 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Llafur, Bermondsey and Old Southwark 3:00, 26 Hydref 2021

Members will be pleased to know that I will be brief, not least because my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate has been so comprehensive, but also because I spoke on this issue a lot this morning. However, I would like to ask some specific questions—three, I think.

If children are covered by clause 22, perhaps the Minister will take the opportunity—despite failing to do so on the two previous chances I have provided—to outline what the equality impact assessment means when it says,

“We will also provide increased access to legal aid.”

As I have explained, the Ministry of Justice seems to be unaware of this extension, and there are previous answers I have yet to exploit. However, it would be useful to know—indeed, I believe we are entitled to know—what cost to Government this will have. What is the cost of this extension to the taxpayer? Is it relevant to clause 22, and how many children or people will benefit from such an extension as we go forward? I hope that the Minister will be able to answer that or, at least, send another letter. I am enjoying our correspondence so far.

My second question is about the organisations that might be providing this advice. Is it the Government’s intention, under clause 22, to have a defined list of organisations that will be willing to provide it? As I mentioned, at an asylum hostel in my constituency yesterday, there appeared to be a Home Office list of legal aid providers that is given to asylum seekers in an induction pack. That should be made public, so that we can explore whether those are the best organisations and whether the list could be expanded. I hope the Minister will tell us whether that list will be published, and whether clause 22 will involve a defined set of organisations.

Thirdly, if the Government are serious about genuinely tackling the delays and the pace of these cases, perhaps they would consider expanding legal aid to all cases to make it a genuinely fast, fair and effective system. That is sadly not what we have before us today.